Shugen Roshi has asked me to serve as Chief Disciple for the Fall 2022 Ango. I’m very excited for the upcoming challenge to serve the sangha, but I also feel trepidation at being unready and a bit undeserving. I will do my very best to be a worthy Chief Disciple. Daido Roshi would always encourage us to trust ourselves, and I will try to remember his words amidst my apprehensions.
When I first came to Zen practice my motivation was almost entirely for my own gain, seeking personal liberation from a painful life. But as my practice evolved over the years I slowly came to realize the immense importance of letting the world in, and allowing myself to feel the suffering of all fellow sentient beings. Some years ago when the sangha started our BFOD study groups, I was somewhat skeptical as to the effects it would have. I understood the urgency and immediacy of the work to be done, but the problems seemed so entrenched and insurmountable. But I gradually began to see how interconnected we all are. The What is Whiteness work has made me reflect on how white privilege not only harms others, but also causes my own suffering and has made my own life much more limited.